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July 24, 2014

Celebrate Christmas In July With Scuba Santa And Bumble The Abominable Snow Monster At Adventure Aquarium This Weekend, July 26-27

Adventure Aquarium

Scuba Santa returns! On Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27, Adventure Aquarium hosts its annual Christmas in July celebrations. (Photo courtesy Adventure Aquarium)

Fun fact: Santa can scuba dive.

Okay, maybe “fact” is a bit of a reach, but patrons of Adventure Aquarium in Camden have learned to expect the unexpected.

On Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27, the aquarium hosts its Christmas Celebration in July. All weekend long, the venue will channel the Christmas spirit with holiday décor, letters to Santa and special guest appearances.

In the aquarium’s Ocean Realm, Scuba Santa will dive into 760,000 gallons of seawater four times each day (10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.).

Over in the festively decorated Rotunda, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster will make it snow daily (noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.). Plus, kids can get a jump on their wish lists by putting their requests in the Letters to Santa mailbox.

Christmas in July is free with admission, and as an added bonus, every visitor will receive a $5 coupon to come back for the aquarium’s December holiday celebrations.

To guarantee your entry, buy tickets online now, or take your chances at the door.

While you’re there, be sure to check out the new Hippo Haven exhibition, which spotlights the Genny and Button, the aquarium’s two 3,000-pound hippopotamuses.

Christmas in July at Adventure Aquarium
When: Saturday, July 26 and Sunday, July 27
Where: 1 Riverside Drive, Camden, NJ
Cost: Free with admission, $25.96/person ages 13 and up, $18.95/person for kids ages 2-12, and free for kids under 2
More info: www.adventureaquarium.com

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July 24, 2014

Scenes From The First Six Weeks Of The Visit Philly Beer Garden Series; Plus Good News: There Are Still Six More Weeks To Go

The Oval Beer Garden Philadelphia

We think it’s safe to say that 2014 is officially the Summer of the Beer Garden. Last week, The Oval hosted thousands to celebrate the opening weekend of its beer garden and alfresco entertainment. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

It’s been a heckuva summer, Philadelphia, and beer gardens have played a key role in bringing serious alfresco good times within the reach of citified urbanites.

We love beer gardens for their versatility. The open-air hangouts are perfect for a night out with friends, a happy hour with coworkers, dinner and drinks with the family or even a daytime hang with kids. And that’s awesome.

To help everyone discover the terrific times to be had at beer gardens, we launched the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series this past June. Now, the half-way point of the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series is upon us — and, so far, we think the happy hour series has been a smashing success.

From the launch at Morgan’s Pier to last week at The Oval, weeks 1 through 6 of the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series have been super, and we can’t wait for weeks 7 to 12.

Truly, Philly’s beer gardens are crushing it. The temporary pop-up installations, like The Oval, the PHS Pop-Up Garden and Spruce Street Harbor Park, have transformed underused spaces into brilliant summertime hangouts.

Meanwhile, standard-bearers like Frankford Hall and Morgan’s Pier are as popular as ever. Plus, these trendsetters now have company on the beer garden scene from the likes of Independence Beer Garden, Fergie’s Beer Garden and the Garden Variety Beer Garden in Northern Liberties.

We’re so happy that Philadelphia finally has an abundance of beer gardens and we can’t wait to see the momentum continue to grow.

For those of you that have come out to the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series, we hope you’re having tons of fun in the sun.

For those of you who have not yet made it out the Beer Garden Series, we wanted to show you some shots from the series that we think will help encourage you to check it out.

Because we all know by now, that the best weekends begin at a beer garden.

Here’s the schedule for the next six weeks:

• Week 7, July 25 – Spruce Street Harbor Park
• Week 8, August 1 – Frankford Hall
• Week 9, August 8 – Independence Beer Garden
• Week 10, August 15 – The Oval
• Week 11, August 22 – Independence Beer Garden
• Week 12, August 29 – Morgan’s Pier

See you on Friday!

Last Week At The Oval

After an awesome run in 2013, The Oval — the open-air public space at Eakins Oval — has once again transformed an island of asphalt and surrounding lawns at 24th Street and the Parkway into an eight-acre public space devoted to summertime fun. Last week, the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series helped to kick start the first weekend at the site. We can’t wait for the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series to return on Friday, August 15 for The Oval’s closing weekend.

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Open through August 17, The Oval hosts tons of activities Wednesday through Sunday, including free live entertainment, a lineup of food trucks and (wait for it!) a beer garden. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

The Oval

Wednesday through Saturday, the Beer Garden at The Oval pours local brews in a shady grove. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

More scenes from the Visit Philly Beer Garden Series, below. (more…)

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July 23, 2014

Tonight Picks: Special Events At The Oval, Pay-What-You-Wish At The PMA, University City Dining Days, Old City Restaurant Week, Center City Sips And More

Tonight, The Oval hosts a slew of free special events, like free dance classes and bocce ball, in addition to its alfresco beer garden. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Tonight, The Oval hosts a slew of free special events, like free dance classes and bocce ball, in addition to its alfresco beer garden. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Add some pep to your mid-week with any number of the great events on tap for tonight.

The Oval starts its daily programming for the week (which runs from Wednesday through Sunday) with a free workout class, bocce ball league, swing dance class and plenty of frosty brews at its beer garden.

Discounted dinner options fill the city as University City Dining Days and Old City Restaurant Week continue. Head to either neighborhood for prix-fixe dinner options at more than 20 restaurants per neighborhood.

Raise a glass to hump day as Center City Sips brings awesome happy hour deals to more than 80 restaurants in Rittenhouse, Midtown Village, Center City and Old City. Have a few after work drinks ($5 cocktails, $4 wine and $3 beer!) without breaking the bank.

Our top picks for tonight, below.

University City Dining Days: It’s the final week of University City Dining Days, head out for $15, $25 or $35 dinners (plus tax and tip!) at more than 20 restaurants throughout the neighborhood. Visit well-loved eateries like Han Dynasty, City Tap House, Distrito, Pod and more. For our alfresco nights on this summer night, click here.

When: Wednesday, July 23
Where: Participating Restaurants
Cost: Varies

Old City Restaurant Week: The first-ever Old City Restaurant Week brings lunch and dinner deals to 28 restaurants throughout neighborhood. Depending on the restaurant, dinner rings in at $25 or $35. Participating restaurants include Amada, Cuba Libre, Red Owl Tavern and Continental Restaurant & Martini Bar. The full list of participating restaurants is available right here.

When: Wednesday, July 23
Where: Participating Restaurants
Cost: Varies

Special Events at The Oval: The Oval is home to a whole bunch of free programming throughout the summer. Tonight, take part in a swing dance class, try your hand at cornhole and bocce or get in shape at the outdoor boot camp class. For those looking for a more sedentary activity, the beer garden serves up cold brews to the 21-plus set from 5 to 10 p.m. Choose from beers including Harpoon Summer Ale, two rotating Yards brews, 21st Amendment Watermelon Wheat and Yuengling.

When: Wednesday, July 23, 5-10 p.m.
Where: The Oval, 2601 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Cost: Free

Center City Sips: Raise a glass to summer as Center City Sips continues. From 5 to 7 p.m., sip discounted drinks ($3 beer, $4 wine and $5 cocktails) and fill up on half-priced appetizers. More than 80 bars in Center City, Rittenhouse, Old City and Midtown Village open their doors for the summer happy hour. Participating spots include Sampan, Tequila’s Restaurant, Mamou, Garces Trading Company and Independence Beer Garden. The full list of participating bars is available right here.

When: Wednesday, July 23, 5-7 p.m.
Where: Participating Restaurants
Cost: $5 Cocktails, $4 Beer, $3 Wine, Half-priced appetizers

Head Out to a Beer Garden: Within the past week there have been a number of brand-new additions to the beer garden scene including Independence Beer Garden, The Oval and Fergie’s. The most recent openings come on top of more additions in the past few weeks, like the PHS Pop Up Garden and Spruce Street Harbor Park. Click here for our picks for the best beer gardens in Philadelphia.

When: Wednesday, July 23
Where: Various locations
Cost: Pay as you go

More events, below. (more…)

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July 23, 2014

Our Guide To The 2014 XPoNential Music Festival, July 25-27, Featuring More Than 30 Artists Over Three Days On The Camden Waterfront

2014 XPoNential Music Festival

Philadelphia plays host to many great music and arts festivals during the summer months, but few draw as big of a crowd as the XPoNential Music Festival on the Camden Waterfront, returning July 25-27. (Photo courtesy WXPN)

Philadelphia certainly holds its own during the buzzing summer music festival season, as this weekend’s XPoNential Music Festival proves with an awesome assortment of alternative rock set to play at three stages at two venues on the Delaware River waterfront in Camden, July 25-27.

With the blockbuster 4th of July Jam behind us, and the epic Made in America concert coming on Labor Day weekend, this weekend’s timing to enjoy a great weekend of music than out by the waterfront is ideal.

For more than 20 years, WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival has rocked the Delaware River Waterfront with dozens of artists. This year, the two-stage setup returns with shows at both Wiggins Park and the Susquehanna Bank Center.

Check out our guide to the XPoNential Music Festival below to make the most out of this music-filled weekend.

The Lineup

With more than 30 acts performing over three days, the festival’s lineup is stacked with both superstars and up-and-coming indie rockers. The top-billed headliners include Ryan Adams on Saturday and Beck on Sunday, but a killer schedule of acts on both the Wiggins Park stages and the Susquehanna Bank Center main stage are well worth the admission.

On Friday, all of the action takes place at Wiggins Park on its two stages, the River Stage and the Marina Stage. Kicking off at 5:30 p.m., a lineup of 10 bands are set for the evening, with headliners James Cotton taking the Marina Stage at 9 p.m. and Rodrigo y Gabriela going on the River Stage at 9:55 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, concerts take place at both Wiggins Park and the Susquehanna Bank Center. At the park on Saturday, listen up for tunes from 10 bands from noon to when headliner Dave Hause hits the stage at 5:40 p.m.

Saturday night, the jam moves over to the Susquehanna Bank Center for the indie-pop sounds of Dawes, Jenny Lewis and Ryan Adams, starting at 7:30 p.m. and rocking until 11:45 p.m.

Sunday afternoon, the shows at Wiggins Park get going at noon, continue with a lineup of 10 acts, and close out with a performance from Man Man scheduled for 5:20 p.m.

Wrapping up the festival on Sunday night, starting at 7:15 p.m. on the main stage at Susquehanna Bank Center, see The Districts, Band of Horses and Beck.

Note that only festival-goers with 3-Day Go Everywhere Passes will have access to shows at both venues. One-day Wiggins Park-only passes and single Susquehanna reserved-seat tickets are available. See below for more information on ticketing.

For the full day-by-day lineup of all artists, check here.

2014 XPoNential Music Festival

The crowds have grown exponentially each year at the annual WXPN music festival, which returns to the Camden waterfront this weekend. (Photo courtesy WXPN)

For more on the 2014 XPoNential Music Festival, see below. (more…)

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July 23, 2014

The Philadelphia Zoo Presents An Outdoor Concert Featuring Country Musician, Brett Eldredge, Monday, August 18

The Philadelphia Zoo teams up with 92.5 XTU for an outdoor concert featuring country musician, Brett Eldredge. (Image courtesy The Philadelphia Zoo)

The Philadelphia Zoo teams up with 92.5 XTU for an outdoor concert featuring country musician, Brett Eldredge. (Image courtesy The Philadelphia Zoo)

On Monday, August 18, The Philadelphia Zoo teams up with 92.5 XTU for a concert featuring Brett Eldredge, a country musician whose songs have graced the Billboard’s Country Music Charts and is slated to join Keith Urban on his summer tour next month.

The concert will take place at Imapala Lawn at The Philadelphia Zoo and will feature festival-style seating.

Tickets for zoo members are already sold out, but VIP tickets and non-member tickets are still available. VIP tickets are $85 and non-member tickets are $55.

Concert tickets include all day access to the Zoo allowing guests to wander the attraction and check out the animals — lions, giraffes, snakes, birds and more. In celebration of the concert, the animal buildings will be open later than usual — until 7 p.m.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. and is rain or shine.

Brett Eldredge at The Philadelphia Zoo
When: Monday, August 18, 7 p.m.
Where: The Philadelphia Zoo, 3400 W. Girard Avenue
Cost: VIP, $85; Non-Members, $55
More info: www.philadelphiazoo.org

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July 23, 2014

A.Bar, AKA Rittenhouse’s Intimate Cocktail Bar, Now Serving Chef Eli Kulp’s Brand-New Menu And Offering Expanded Hours

Intimate a.bar invites its guests to check out the brand-new menu this month, which includes an expanded offering of raw bar selections and a handful of more substantial plates. (Photo by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia)

This past spring, the talented team behind acclaimed Old City establishments Fork and High Street on Market — chef Eli Kulp and owner Ellen Yin — ventured west to Rittenhouse Square to create entirely new menus for dining destinations a.kitchen and a.bar.

To complement the recently launched (and immediately lauded) new menus at a.kitchen, a brand-new menu of expanded dining options is now available at a.bar.

Like Kulp’s offerings at a.kitchen, Fork and High Street on Market, the new a.bar menu draws on fresh, mostly local ingredients and features plates that are approachable, yet still completely intriguing.

Now celebrating its one-year anniversary, the sophisticated vibe of a.bar has not diminished. The chic atmosphere remains, but now the hours of operation are extended and dining options better pair with the surroundings, which seem to invite guests to linger.

Served Monday through Saturday, noon to 10 p.m., with raw bar options available until 11 p.m., a.bar’s new menu retains its acclaimed oyster program — including $1.50 happy hour oysters 4 to 6 p.m. daily — and adds an internationally inspired crudo selection (don’t pass on the scallop ceviche), sharable snacks and more.

To the delight of patrons looking to have an entire dinner at the bar, the menu now features a curated lineup of substantial plates like a soft shell crab sandwich, a summer squash salad, a hearty burger with Lancaster swiss cheese and fries, and a whole grilled branzino.

Pairing with the new food menus, the bar continues to pour its already well-regarded contemporary cocktails, rare wines and craft beers.

For the complete menu, check right here.

With sophisticated touches everywhere you look, the spaces at the AKA Rittenhouse Square offer up polished atmosphere.

Now, with the infusion of this creative menu from Chef Kulp — a 2014 Food & Wine Best New Chef — the whole dining experience at a.bar feels upgraded from stylish to superb.

New Menu at a.bar
When: Monday-Saturday, noon-10 p.m.
Where: AKA Rittenhouse, 18th and Walnut streets
Cost: Pay as you go
More info: www.akitchenandbar.com

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July 23, 2014

Head To Canal View Park In Manayunk For Free Outdoor Zumba Classes, Thursday Nights At 5:30 P.M.

Sweat Fitness presents free zumba for all on Thursday evenings at Canal View Park in Manayunk. (Image courtesy Sweat Fitness)

Sweat Fitness presents free zumba for all on Thursday evenings at Canal View Park in Manayunk. (Image courtesy Sweat Fitness)

Get your workout on for free as Sweat Fitness brings free outdoor Zumba classes to Manayunk on Thursday evenings.

Led by a trainer from SWEAT Fitness, the classes promise guests an exhilarating workout in addition to tunes spun by an on-site DJ — so you can work on your fitness and get down to chart-topping tunes.

Classes are weekly and begin at 5:30 p.m. Each class runs for an hour at Canal View Park, which is conveniently located on Main Street in Manayunk.

Take full advantage of the long summer days by participating in the free outdoor Zumba class.

In the case of rain, the class will move indoors to the studio at Sweat Fitness on Main Street in Manayunk.

Free Zumba Class in Canal View Park
When: Thursdays, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Canal View Park, 4430 Main Street
Cost: Free
More info: www.sweatfitness.com

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July 23, 2014

Historic Franklin Square Park Celebrates National Carousel Day With Two-For-One Tickets To Ride Center City’s Only Carousel, Friday, July 25

Franklin Square park celebrates its historic Parx Liberty Carousel on the the 143 birthday of the modern carousel this Friday, July 25. (Photo by J. Fusco for Historic Philadelphia)

Historic Philadelphia’s family-friendly favorite Franklin Square makes an ideal spot for families, history buffs and lovers of milkshakes all summer long.

Weather permitting, one and all are invited to come out to one of the city’s top play places and enjoy its awesome attractions daily through the fall.

As long as unseasonal weather doesn’t cause closures, the park is open everyday for rounds of Philly Mini Golf, rides aboard the Liberty Carousel or sights of the vintage marble fountain.

This Friday, July 25, Franklin Square hosts a celebration of its gorgeous historic Parx Liberty Carousel in honor of National Carousel Day and the 143 birthday of the modern carousel.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., scoop up buy one-get one free tickets to ride Center City’s only carousel.

Carousel tickets are $3 per person for riders 3 and up, and children under 2 years old ride for free. Note that children under 42″ must be accompanied by an adult.

Franklin Square’s SquareBurger — Stephen Starr’s popular burger, hot dog and milkshake joint — is open daily, too, so no one will go hungry.

Mark the anniversary of this historic amusement with a deal.

National Carousel Day at Franklin Square and SquareBurger 2014 Season
When: Friday, July 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 6th and Race streets
Cost: Free
More info: www.historicphiladelphia.org

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July 23, 2014

Philadelphia Dance Day Brings Free Dance Workshops Of All Sort To Studios Across The City, This Saturday, July 26

Philadelphia Dance Day, Saturday, July 26, brings free dance workshops to studios across the city. (Image courtesy Philadelphia Dance Day)

Philadelphia Dance Day, Saturday, July 26, brings free dance workshops to studios across the city. (Image courtesy Philadelphia Dance Day)

Put on your dancing shoes, Philadelphia!

This Saturday, July 26, dancers of all levels and styles are invited to come together for Philadelphia Dance Day, a full day of free dance workshops at studios throughout the city.

Participating dance studios include Major Moment Studio in Graduate Hospital, Art in Motion Dance Academy in Old City and Headlong Studios in South Philly. Guests can expect salsa workshops, tap dance classes, ballet classes, belly dancing, hip hop dance and more.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., the festivities culminate with evening dance classes and a major zumba party at The Ethical Society of Philadelphia. Entry to The Ethical Society is $5 for all of the classes you’d like to take and refreshments.

The full list of workshops and their locations is available right here.

Pre-registration is not required, but some spaces are very small so be sure to arrive early to secure your spot on the dance floor.

In certain cases, $2 tickets are available online to guarantee you a spot at the smallest dance studios. Free additional spots will be available on a first come, first serve basis, too.

If you have appropriate footwear, just bring your shoes to respective dance classes (ballet shoes, tap shoes etc.), if not, feel free to just wear socks.

Classes are largely intended for teenagers and adults.

Philadelphia Dance Day
When: Saturday, July 26
Where: Participating locations
Cost: Free
More info: www.philadelphiadanceday.com

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July 22, 2014

This Week At The Oval: Our Top Picks For Events, Classes And Entertainment At The Pop-Up Park On The Parkway, July 23-27

The Oval Philadelphia

Visit The Oval, a transformed surface parking lot on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, this week for free movies, classes and daily fun. (Photos by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Seeking fun in Philadelphia’s summer sun? The Oval has you covered like SPF 45.

The pop-up park on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is open Wednesday through Sunday through August 17, and has a full calendar of free daily educational programming, tons of free live entertainment, a daily lineup of food trucks and an awesome beer garden.

Each day, the agenda revolves around a theme: Wednesday are all about wellness, Thursdays focus on arts and culture, Fridays are for food and flicks, Saturdays bring game day and Sunday is for family fun.

This week, alfresco games are high on the agenda with a bocce league and free boot camp classes, plus the weekly beer garden brings cold brews for the over-21 set Wednesday through Saturday.

Remember, there are food trucks on-site at The Oval Wednesday through Friday, too, so no worries about accessible snacks (but we recommend bringing cash).

For our complete overview of the action at The Oval, check here. For a complete schedule of the multitude of daily events, check the online calendar.

Read on for our top picks of not-to-miss happenings at The Oval this week.

Boot Camp Class: Wednesday, July 23, 6-7 p.m. Sure, the beer garden is enticing, but why not start your Wednesday evening with a work out. The fitness-minded folks at Free Fitness Philly host an hour-long boot camp-style work out to kick off the evening. Challenge yourself to make it through the tough work out.

• Cornhole and Bocce League: Wednesday, July 23, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Join a group of serious lawn-game enthusiasts for cornhole league presented by Philly Sports Network and a bocce ball league presented by Major League Bocce. With the beer garden area’s expansive lawn, the space makes a perfect lawn game court. Game on.

Swing Dance Class: Wednesday, July 23, 7-8 p.m. So you think you can dance? Sharpen those skills or pick up some new tricks with a free swing dance class taught by instructors Peggy Leiby and Ret Turner. Grab a partner and get dancing! Suitable for all ages.

Art Class with Fleisher Color Wheel: Thursday, July 24, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The artsy crew from Fleisher Art Memorial bring out ColorWheels, a set-up equipped with the supplies and tools to create on-the-spot works of art. This time around ColorWheels artists will show kids and adults alike how to create woven magic carpets out of paper, and make wearable art in the spirit of the Association for Public Art’s installation at The Oval, Magic Carpet.

Smith Memorial Playground Play Wagon: Friday, July 25, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Join the good people of Fairmount Park’s Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse for an interactive afternoon of educational play. Both kids and parents will have a ball playing with ropes, blocks, bubbles and crafts while learning about the importance of interacting with children. Look out for healthy and kid-friendly fare from food trucks like Zea May’s Kitchen, Mac Mart Cart, Lil’ Dan’s and Lil’ Pop Shop from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

School of Rock Performance with Awesome Fest: Friday, July 25, 6:30-9 p.m. To get the crowd psyched for that evening’s screening of School of Rock, the Awesome Fest presents live youth band performances from four groups of pint-sized musicians. Check here for the complete lineup.

(Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

Last year, The Oval popped up on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a beach-themed placemaking installation. In 2014, The Oval summer season runs July 16 through August 17 with a whimsical installation by artist Candy Coated, a beer garden and full calendar of events. (Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia)

More picks for this week at The Oval, below. (more…)

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